Meersburg, Germany, c. 1955

c. 1955 – Tourists roam the Marktplatz in Meersburg, Germany, with its historic Hotel Bären (left) and the city portal (back) that leads to the upper city. Scan © Mark Zanzig/

The story behind the image

This picture had been sitting in the family archive for decades, unnoticed. It shows the Marktplatz in Meersburg at Lake Constance in Germany in the 1950s – an early development of tourism after the terrible Second World War.

Several interesting observations:

  • The Hotel Bären (on the left) was first mentioned in 1456 (as a bar). It is still open today, owned and operated by the families Keller, Karrer, and Gilowsky, since 1851. The building had been completely renovated from 1952 to 1954, so this image most likely does already show the renovated building.
  • The city portal with its clock tower still exists at the time of writing.
  • There are three cars visible. The one in the front (on the right) is a Borgward Hansa 1800 Diesel, a 4-door sedan from German carmaker Borgward. Today, the brand lives on, but it is not related to this manufacturer. Anyway, this car was launched in 1953, so the image must have been shot in 1953 or later. Its number plate (“BR 406-238”) had been issued by the British regulatory in the Rhine area. This number plate system was used until 1956 when it was replaced by a new nation wide system.
  • The second car (on the left) is a Mercedes-Benz 170 S (W 191), a model that had been manufactured in multiple variants until 1955. The number plate (“AB 930-317”) had been issued by the American regulatory in Bavaria. Like the one above, this plate was put out of service by the end of 1956.
  • The third car (in the back) is most likely a Mercedes-Benz 170 V (W 136) which had been manufactured from 1936 to 1953.

Funnily enough, I shot a very similar image when we visited Meersburg in 2021. Gone is the car traffic, but the Hotel Bären looks quite attractive with the flower boxes and the tables on the outside.

Hotel Bären in Meersburg, Germany, captured on a sunny day in August 2021. © Mark Zanzig

The high resolution image

Capture Datecirca 1955
LocationMeersburg, Germany
Image Source7 x 10 cm Print
Digital Image SourceEPSON Perfection 4870 Photo
Digital Image Source FormatTIFF, 48 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions3203 x 4607 Pixels
Copyright© by Mark Zanzig/

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